Japan cancels emperor's New Year event due to virus spike
Kyodo -- Nov 27
Japan's Imperial Household Agency said Friday it has decided to cancel Emperor Naruhito's annual New Year event at the Imperial Palace due to a recent spike in the number of new cases of the novel coronavirus.

It is the first time the event has been called off since 1990, when the country was mourning the death the previous year of Emperor Hirohito, the grandfather of the current emperor.

The decision was made because of concern that it will draw huge crowds of people into confined spaces, many of whom are elderly who face a higher risk of contracting a severe form of the COVID-19 illness caused by the virus, among other reasons, the agency said.

At the event, which usually takes place on Jan. 2, the emperor, empress and other members of the imperial family greet thousands of well-wishers from a balcony at the palace in Tokyo.

News source: Kyodo
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